Home NEWS Covid-19: Okonjo-Iweala warns against vaccine Nationalism

Covid-19: Okonjo-Iweala warns against vaccine Nationalism

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The newly appointed World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has warned against vaccine nationalism at this time that it will not pay, because the variants are coming because if other countries are not immunized, it will hasten the spread and cause more death.

The former Nigerian finance minister and senior World Bank executive however said the WTO can contribute so much more to helping stop the pandemic.

“The WTO can contribute so much more to helping stop the pandemic,” Okonjo-Iweala said in an interview at her home in a suburb of Washington, DC.

“No one is safe until everyone is safe. Vaccine nationalism at this time just will not pay, because the variants are coming. If other countries are not immunized, it will just be a blowback,” she said. “It’s unconscionable that people will be dying elsewhere, waiting in a queue, when we have the technology.”

“Both on a human health basis, as well as an economic basis, being nationalistic at this time, is very costly to the international community,” she said.

“A very top priority for me would be to make sure that before the very important ministerial conference … that we come to solutions as to how the WTO can make vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics accessible in an equitable and affordable fashion to all countries, particularly to poor countries.” The Nigerian said.

Okonjo-Iweala said she was heartened by the administration of US President Joe’s contribution to the World Health Organization effort to ensure a broader distribution of vaccines, and what she called a “fantastic” conversation with trade advisers in the US Trade Representative’s office.

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